Prince Harry ordered to pay Mail on Sunday nearly £50,000 after losing libel case battle

11 December 2023, 16:34

Prince Harry has been ordered to pay the Mail on Sunday's publisher's legal fees
Prince Harry has been ordered to pay the Mail on Sunday's publisher's legal fees. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

Prince Harry has been ordered to pay the Mail on Sunday almost £50,000 in damages as part of his ongoing legal battle with the newspaper.

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The Duke of Sussex is suing Associated Newspapers Limited, the Mail on Sunday's publishers, over an article about his dispute with the Home Office over security arrangements when he's in the UK.

Amid the libel case, a judge has ordered the duke to pay £48,000 to Associated Press to cover their legal cost after failing to have part of the publisher's defence struck from the case.

Mr Justice Nicklin says the duke must now pay the legal costs incurred by Associated in relation to that "summary judgment application".

The judge said, in a written case order released to journalists on Monday, that those costs should be assessed if they were not agreed.

But he said the duke should pay Associated £48,447 "on account" before the end of the year.

A libel trial will take place between May and June next year if both parties do not come to an agreement.

Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex and her husband Prince Harry exit the One World Observatory in New York City's World Trade Center, New York, USA. 23rd Sep, 2021. Credit: Enrique Shore/Alamy Live News
Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex and her husband Prince Harry exit the One World Observatory in New York City's World Trade Center, New York, USA. 23rd Sep, 2021. Credit: Enrique Shore/Alamy Live News. Picture: Alamy

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Associated Newspapers claim that the article in question expressed an "honest opinion" and so did not case "serious harm" to the prince's reputation.

The duke's lawyers argued to have the "honest opinion" defence thrown out of the libel case, but the High Court judge has ruled that it could be included ahead of a trial.

The judge added that the publishers had a "real prospect" of arguing the "honest opinion" defence in this case.

The Mail on Sunday argument in question, published in 2022, addressed the removal of the duke's automatic police protection by the Home Office after stepping down as a working member of the Royal Family.

The story ran with the headline "How Prince Harry tried to keep his legal fight with the government over bodyguards a secret … then - just minutes after the story broke - his PR machine tried to put positive spin on the dispute." Prince Harry argues that this attacked his "honesty and integrity".

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